Dell not recognising 2nd HDD.

By twite
May 14, 2007
  1. My Friend bought a 250 GB HDD for his Dads Dell, and it is not recognized in his bios, or my computer (as a slave drive). When you put it as master drive, and keep the old Hd out, it does show it is not a problem with the actual HD.

    Could it be one of these 3 things

    A) Bios is not up to date (comp is a good 3-5 years old and hasn't been flashed)

    B) Not sure what SP it has, but i know SP1 doesn't recognize past Something like 187GB

    C) it is a Dell and for some reason you cant use 2 Hd's :suspiciou
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Most likely a jumper mismatch, or an incorrectly used EIDE cable. Is it in an older computer, or one with a SATA drive?
    You can download the Dell BIOS from support on the Dell site, but you place the computer at risk if you don't know how to install a BIOS. The BIOS probably has little to do with the problem, but you can tell by reading through the information provided at the location where you download the BIOS.
    Not sure you are correct about the Service Pack. But you can get Service Pack 2 from for the cost of postage, or about $3.95 before the postage increase.
    There is no reason why you cannot use two hard drives in a Dell. But sometimes you have to install Windows XP alone, then do the updates, then add the second drive.

    For starters, go to Start->Control Panel->Administrative Tools->Computer Management-> Disk Management-> to see what is listed there for hard drives.
    If not there, try changing the jumpers on the back of each drive so that one is jumpered as Master, and the other is jumpered as slave. Then check Disk Management again.
    Now reboot and press the key at startup which takes you to the BIOS, and see what is reported there. You should be on your way to recovery... but you may have to reformat the second hard drive.
  3. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 937

    Yeah the jumpers are more then likely gonna be the problem, thanks a lot. I will get back to you and let you know if it worked. Thanks.

    And sorry about the horrible spelling of recognize in the title. I don't know what i was thinking. Haha
  4. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 937

    Its still doesn't recognize the second HDD. I changed the jumpers and still nothing.

    It is the second (middle) IDE port on the cable that will not recconize an HDD.
  5. MMDominator88

    MMDominator88 TS Rookie Posts: 119

    when you bought the 2nd HDD, did it come with a new set of EIDE cables !! and if it did, did U use those and follow the instructions as to set it up and all of that jazz ?
  6. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 937

    No, it didn't, and it didn't come with instructions.
  7. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    That is your obvious next move... buy and install two new EIDE cables... 80 conductor, 40 connector ATA-133 or ATA-100 cables and try everything again.

    If that doesn;w work. the hard drive may have been damaged in shipment... try it in another computer... and try another hard drive in your computer.
  8. awhosu

    awhosu TS Rookie


    I had a similar problem with an old Dell. It seems that the bios does not look around for any changes, like new HDD's. The solution that worked for me was to remove the bios battery, go away and have a couple of cups of coffee. When you return replace the battery, and hopefully the bios looks around to see what it has to work with, and finds your new HDD. I think the reason may be a mobo cap keeps its charge for a long while. I say this because I did replace the battery as a matter of course before I had this problem. Which is why it drove me up the wall.

    Good luck
  9. gguerra

    gguerra TS Maniac Posts: 317

    If your 2nd hard drive was recognized by itself as a single then it's not bios. More than likely it's an incompatibility between you old hd and you new (2nd) drive. I've had that happen when trying to slave a new drive with a much older drive no matter what the jumper settings. if you have two ide's why not hook up you new hd on the 2nd ide port as a master and cd rom as slave
  10. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 937

    Can't use second port b/c cd drive is on that port.
  11. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    I believe, IF the cable is 80 wire 40 pin, they must either BOTH be cable select and then you can put the new in the middle OR you jumper the old as master and the new as slave and the old is still put in the middle.

    Some bios have a 'Force Reset ESCD' setting (or similar) that forces reassessment of operating system hardware in bios - try it if you have it (with the drive in).
  12. awhosu

    awhosu TS Rookie

    An addition to my comment above, is that the bios remembers that there is one HDD attached and acts accordingly. When you add a second drive the bios does not look for another drive until you clear the cmos. Some dells have a security option in the bios that may be responsible for this behavior. I added a second drive to my old dell which it did not recognize until I cleared the cmos. The same thing happened when I connected up a cd drive.
  13. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    That is not the typical action on a Dell. Somehow the settings have been "adjusted."
  14. Frank Smith

    Frank Smith TS Rookie Posts: 75

    Gees, I'm still wondering,
    what OS is being used?
    what type of HDD is it? ATA, S-ATA, Raid or SCSI
    Has the Bios been updated.
    and since the BIOS does not recognize it, is the BIOS even set correctly to find it?
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